Thursday, November 17, 2005

A bridge not so far

Signalling the ever increasing heat being felt by Republican congresscritters, the infamous "Bridge to nowhere" has been dropped from the budget:

The "Bridge to Nowhere," a pork-barrel project that has attracted a lot of unfavorable attention, may not be going anywhere for a while.

The $223 million span linking the small town of Ketchikan to sparsely populated Gravina Island and a second Alaskan bridge project have been stripped of their funding by congressional negotiators as they race to wrap up legislative business.

As the Post notes, dropping this item from the budget will have no monetary effect:
As part of the deal, Alaska will get to keep the $454 million that Congress set aside for the two bridges, and technically the state can use the transportation funds for any project it chooses -- including the bridges.

And what the heck, when faced with a $300+ billion deficit, what's a half billion here or there anyway?

On the other hand, there is one way cutting this bit of federal chicharron could have more than a merely symbolic effect:
The Senate tried unsuccessfully last month to redirect a portion of the Alaska bridge funds to fix a heavily traveled interstate bridge outside New Orleans that was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. That effort drew furious words and a resignation threat from veteran Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), former chairman of the Appropriations Committee. [Emphasis mine-CK]

If only would get Mr. Stevens to keep his word, now THAT would be accomplishing something.

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